I woke up this morning to the “Gluten-Free Controversy" – an issue which is complicated and often misunderstood by the general public.
It started with a CBC Newsworld report in the early morning by Kim Brunhuber. The CBC reported that “One of the more popular diet trend these days is gluten-free. Now some go gluten-free for medical reasons but a growing number of people are going gluten-free as a lifestyle choice. And not all experts think that is a great idea . . .”
Moments after this report was finished, our first order of gluten-free Quinoa Skinny Crackers from Enerjive arrived. We were quite excited that we could add another healthy, wholesome and clean product to our inventory. But should we be excited given the CBC Newsworld report?
We have always chosen gluten-free products for our gift baskets, when possible, which is great news for our customers with celiac disease, who for health reasons should not eat wheat with gluten. It is also great news our customers who chose gluten-free for lifestyle reasons.
It is estimated that less than 1% of North Americans have celiac disease and should go gluten free. The rest of us who are going gluten-free or gluten-reduced, are doing it for lifestyle reasons – so we feel better!
The general perception in the marketplace is that a gluten-free diet is healthier. The fact is that a totally gluten-free diet isn’t better for most people. For people with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is essential. But for most of us, a gluten-free diet can lack vitamins, fiber and minerals. The CBC report by Brunhuber also noted that gluten-free diets are often higher in calories and fat!
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye and therefore in whole grain foods related to wheat, including bulgur, farro, kamut, spelt, and triticale. Many of these whole grain foods are rich in vitamins, fiber and minerals and should not be cut out of our diets.
The solution suggested by experts interviewed in the CBC report and in medical community is that a Gluten-Reduced diet is a good idea for those of us who do not have celiac disease. Like everything, moderation is the key in our diets. Reducing gluten is good advice but not at the expense of many whole grain foods.